May I Call You The Beast? - 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Long-Term Road Test

2009 Dodge Challenger Long Term Road Test

2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: May I Call You The Beast?

January 22, 2010


This isa goodweek to drive our long-term 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T. It has rained for six days straight so the roads are damp as they can be. And after almost 19,000 miles, the Challenger'sall-season Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 tiresare finally showing some wear. Itdoesn't take much to break them loose.

Recently, I watched The Beast, the documentary about actor Eric Bana's Falcon GT. It's about a long-term relationship with a '74 Ford Falcon GT. It began when Bana saved up to buy the car in high school after watching Falcons tear around Australia's Bathurst circuit, and itculminates a couple decades later when Bana, the successful actor, overhauls the car to race in the Targa Tasmania Rally.

It's a moving story in the way that stories about long-term relationships with cars usually are. I've been wondering if I should start a long-term relationship with a Challenger R/T. The more I drive this car, the moreI like it. And with a few key upgrades, perhaps I could transform it into a car I'd want to go around corners in...

But first I'd have to deal with the clutch. I've put a lot of miles on our Challenger, and I still cannot stand the clutch takeup. Now I know I've just incriminated myself as the "brother-in-law" who lunched the car's original clutch. I swear that wasn't me. But I do swear about this clutch, all the time, because the vague engagement point, combined with the slightly delayed throttle response, drives me up the wall. I do not abide.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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